From beach to boardroom: Iced coffee king surfing to success

One to watch

Jimmy’s Iced Coffee started as a backroom experiment in a café in Dorset and is now stocked in Tesco, Ocado and Wholefoods. They sell one carton every seven seconds and have just launched a new dairy-free variety to cater for vegan and lactose intolerant consumers. We caught up with the bearded man behind the brand, Jim Cregan, to find out more about his start-up journey.

What problem are you trying to solve?

The mass market iced coffee which you can pick up in a supermarket tends to be very sweet and packed full of random ingredients. We are solving this by making a super refreshing, less sweet iced coffee with a few simple ingredients for the people.

How big is the market – and how much of it do you think you can own?

The market’s about £50m at the moment. We will have 80 per cent.

How do you make money?

By selling cases of ready to drink cartons of iced coffee to supermarkets. 

Who’s on your team that makes you think you can do this?  

Everyone on the team makes this happen, there’s no thinking involved, it’s happening.

Who’s bankrolling you? 

We are. And so is Funding Circle. The banks have been completely useless.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs trying to secure that kind of finance?

It depends on how much you’re looking for and how long you’ve been trading, but if you need money, I’d go crowd funding, 100 per cent. If you are well under the table with trading, I’d take a look at funding circle. 

What do you believe the key to growing this business is?

You’ve gotta be hungry, starving even. You need to be up and at ‘em to nail the day. You’ve gotta communicate regularly with the folks who matter to you most in business. You’ve gotta aim for the stars but be realistic at the same time. You don’t want to look like an idiot.

What metrics do you look at every day?

I don’t personally look each day, but we do get a breakdown each Friday of sales, split by customers, sku, totals etc.

What’s been the most unexpectedly valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far?  

Getting into the rhythm of communicating and taking the time to do so. Meetings every day, but only for 10 minutes are so helpful. 

What’s been your biggest mistake so far?  

Trusting the wrong people who simply take you for a ride. You’ve gotta earn trust. (Think Point Break).

What do you think is on the horizon for your industry in the year ahead?  

More people thinking and drinking Iced Coffee. There’s still a huge educational piece to be done with Iced Coffee, but it’s growing more and more each year.

Which London start-up/s are you watching, and why?

I’m watching Ugly Drinks, Sandows Cold Brew, Big Boss Palm, Conker Spirit.

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